Feeling blank, yet full. I told myself that I wasn’t going to write about feeling blank, but I cant fight it. I can only follow its lead into the dance, let him lead the way. I give my hand—ready to surrender. I no know other way. I must give up the need to control and I have gotten better with that. Yoda’s words leap into my awareness: “Don’t try, just do.” I accept that there will be many “blank page” moments, I embrace it, and I tell myself that I shouldn’t be embarrassed to write and share them when they occur.
Two days ago I was taken by that solitary bird that I saw sitting up high in the bare tree. Simple. We may see this image everyday, but it meant so much to me. It spoke deeply to me. I saw it from the freeway. I was not driving, so I looked for as long as I could and took my notebook out, sketched the simple image as a reminder and wrote a few words to try and capture the moment. Later when I reflected on Red Room Member, Nancy Smith’s (Nan’s) “Connections???” blog comment back to me about why she writes Haiku. We were talking about connections and coincidences and she said, “I think that may be part of the reason I write haiku (making connections between nature and myself). Or I may be just deluding myself.” Well from the little bit I understand about haiku, Nan’s definitely not deluding herself. And though I have read haiku a little bit, I never tried to write one in the 5-7-5 syllable three line count. I found it very challenging. I liked the utter simplicity, almost childlikeness of my original words, nothing particularly unique, but it’s what I saw and it was a way for me to remember. If anything, the “trying” may have taken some of the spontaneous steam out of me.
That’s why usually when I write, I write. But there are times, of course, when I do some planning; well, maybe not so much planning—OK, it must be planning. I suppose it really depends on what it is I’m writing. I like using different containers to write in and sometimes it’s pure free write, other times, I edit as best I can, cutting, adding, cutting. I don’t know that I will spend too much time writing haiku in the future. Nature and I have always been close and she and he have spoken to me and I think that for now, I may stick to letting the words of expression come as they will because I reminded myself that when I try, I get locked up. On the other hand, it’s a good exercise for me to incorporate both trying and not trying.
The other connection that occurred is when I went to the bookshelf and pulled, One Continuous Mistake: Four Noble Truths for Writers by Gail Sher. It’s a book I always come back to because I feel like I’m visiting an old friend. In her introduction she shares how in order to get herself back to writing she wrote one haiku a day for several years. Another nugget that spoke to me from her introduction is when she says, “Writing comes like an urge or a pulse, not to say something; but to be with words as they arise and then to shape them or craft them. The words could be wood. It makes no difference.” I’ve read this book at least two times in my life and this will be my third. This time, I underlined those words. It makes me feel alive when I read words that speak directly to me, that resonate so deeply with me and in their own way encourage me and explain an experience for me in a way that gets right to the core. I jump up in excitement!
This also led me to download a “Kindle Single” as the shorter works are referred to, an essay, rather than a full e-book titled, “The Heart of Haiku” by Jane Hirshfield.
The process. Over the many years I have grown to respect the process—I love the process. I set out here today, literally feeling blah and not knowing where I was going, but then as I took my tools, took those words and began following them, connecting them somehow with the experience that I was feeling inside, with the experience that I felt outside, and just following, following—this is where I ended up—one and a half blank pages later.